- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Australian minister hails intervention result

HONIARA — Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday hailed progress in the week-old multinational intervention to restore order in the Solomon Islands, but said much more needs to be done to rescue the troubled Pacific state.

Mr. Downer, on a brief visit to the Solomons with his New Zealand counterpart Phil Goff, also announced a $16.5 million (in U.S. dollars) deal to build a prison and improve the court system in the country.

The officials’ arrival came a day after Malaita Eagle Force, a militia that led a coup against the government in 2000, agreed to give up its weapons to the Australia-led intervention force. Collecting illegal arms from militia and criminal gangs is the primary aim of the intervention force, which landed July 24.

CHINA

Soldiers report seeing horned lake monster

BEIJING — Soldiers contend they have spotted China’s “Loch Ness Monster,” the second report of such a sighting in less than a month, state media said yesterday.

The creature is said to have suddenly broken through the surface of Tianchi Lake in northeastern Jilin province early Wednesday, astounding about a dozen visiting servicemen, Xinhua news agency reported. The animal, which had four-inch horns and a scaled back, swam around for about two minutes before disappearing, Xinhua said.

A report early last month said a similar animal had been seen five times during a period of about 50 minutes, Xinhua reported.

CAMBODIA

Rainsy party warned not to usurp power

PHNOM PENH — Prime Minister Hun Sen hardened his rhetoric yesterday after his party’s victory in weekend elections, warning that opposition parties would be making “a big mistake” if they interrupted the transition of government.

He reiterated his warning against any attempt to establish an alternative government after the overwhelming election performance of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), saying such a move would be a betrayal of the people’s decision.

The opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) had urged that a three-party government be established with elected members from the CPP, the royalist FUNCINPEC Party and the SRP, but on the condition that Mr. Hun Sen does not serve as prime minister.

“I would like the opposition party not to act like it was preparing for government, instead of the winning party,” Mr. Hun Sen told reporters. “I recommend to the small opposition party which has a few seats and wants to form a government: That it is a big mistake. Please see the constitution.”

Weekly notes …

Villagers in Indonesia’s Central Java province have been warned of a possible volcanic eruption after a quiet crater belched hot, sulphurous lava last week. Authorities ordered residents and tourists not to approach the Sileri crater at the Dieng volcano complex, said a spokesman for Banjarnegara district. He said the last eruption had occurred 19 years ago, and “such a thing normally occurs once in 20 years.” … Japan signaled yesterday that it would reject a formal request by Peruvian authorities for the extradition of Alberto Fujimori because the former Peruvian president is now a Japanese citizen, and Tokyo has no extradition treaty with Lima. Mr. Fujimori went to Japan, where his parents were born, after a November 2000 international meeting in Brunei as clamor against him rose in Peru after the arrest of his intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, in a bribery scandal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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